Category Archives: Inniskillings

Christmas in Crete

The 1/Inniskilling Fusiliers spent the Christmas of 1907 in Crete. In the midst of their other duties, one of the battalion at least managed to find the time to send home an appropriate Christmas card.

The 1/Inniskillings' Christmas card, Crete 1907

The 1/Inniskillings’ Christmas card, Crete 1907

One of them at least had some idea of the climatic conditions awaiting them over that Christmas. A member of the battalion named Sid, referred to in previous posts, purchased a commercially produced postcard, apparently taken in 1906 or earlier, which, according to his annotation, shows snow on the Officers’ Mess in Candia.

British Officers' mess in Candia in the winter.c.1906

British Officers’ mess in Candia in the winter.c.1906

According to The Army Medical Department report for 1907,[1] the huts used as accommodation for the men in Candia were ”commodious and fairly comfortable, but in some cases falling into disrepair.”  The Officers’ huts were no better, being “…mostly old, badly constructed, and afford[ing] scanty accommodation, most of the rooms[…] not provided with stoves, and some of the junior officers hav[ing] to occupy EP [Enlisted Personnel] tents through the greater part of the year. “

The class distinction between officers and men was brought out well in the report: “ The detachment at Canea, consisting of 3 officers and 55 to 65 men, is somewhat better accommodated [than those in Candia] in three houses, of which that occupied by the officers is well situated and arranged. The two houses occupied by the men seem to offer hardly enough accommodation for the large number above stated, and it is considered by the Senior Medical Officer that the detachment should be kept constantly at 50.”

[1] 1908[Cd.4057] Army Medical Department report for the year 1907. Vol. XLIX p.60.

A lonely death?

From internal evidence obtained from other photographs, the photograph/postcard below was apparently one of a series which were the property of a member of 1/Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers serving in Crete in 1907/1908.

British cemetery Candia 1907.

British cemetery Candia 1907.

British cemetery Candia 1907, reverse of postcard.

British cemetery Candia 1907, reverse of postcard.

The text reads:

Taken just after a funeral.

Another view of our cemetery.

This was taken by one of our men.

The chap that was buried when this was taken, was in hospital with me and died of Malarial fever after 5 days illness, and no one knew who his people were,  Sid

 

Three members of 1/Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers died while the Battalion was stationed on Crete between February 1907 and February 1908. Given that the majority of British servicemen who died during the Intervention did so of disease and the records available are not that detailed, it’s almost impossible to determine who it was that is referred to on the postcard. The memorials in the British military cemetery in Agios Konstantinos and Helene, Iraklion, indicate however, that the deceased is one of the following :

Private J. Reid               No. 8733     Died 13th July 1907          Age 19   C Company

Memorial to Private Reid, Inniskilling Fusiliers. Candia 1907

Memorial to Private Reid, Inniskilling Fusiliers. Candia 1907

Corporal A.E. Smith     No. 4564     Died 2nd October 1907    Age 32   C Company

Memorial to Corporal Smith, Inniskilling Fusiliers. Candia 1907

Memorial to Corporal Smith, Inniskilling Fusiliers. Candia 1907

Private R. Truesdale    No. 8730     Died 9th August 1907       Age 19   C Company

Memorial to Private Truesdale, Inniskilling Fusiliers. Candia 1907

Memorial to Private Truesdale, Inniskilling Fusiliers. Candia 1907

Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers memorial, Candia 1907

Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers memorial, Candia 1907

Hopefully, someone eventually found out who his people were and informed them accordingly.

High Commissioner Zaimis

In September 1906, following the elections which came after the Theriso Revolt, Prince George had had enough of Crete, and Crete had had enough of Prince George. His replacement, who took office shortly after George’s departure from the island on 25th September, arriving there on 30th September 1906, was Alexandros Zaimis; twice previously Prime Minister of Greece and ‘…an experienced politician not noted for superabundant energy (energy was the last thing the Powers wanted in Crete).’[1]

Alexandros Zaimis High Commissioner of Crete.

Alexandros Zaimis High Commissioner of Crete.

Zaimis arrived in Canea and was greeted with an appropriate military guard of honour, the British contingent apparently being provided by the Royal Navy, as shown on the contemporary postcard photograph below.

The arrival of High Commissioner Zaimis. Canea 30 September 1906.

The arrival of High Commissioner Zaimis. Canea 30 September 1906.

Interestingly, an almost identical photograph – note to positions of the rowing boats – was used on another postcard  This time more detail of the event is added; however, the date given is one month out.

High Commissioner Zaimis arriving Canea. Note the incorrect date.

High Commissioner Zaimis arriving Canea. Note the incorrect date.

Zaimis’s career as High Commissioner was relatively brief. Although appointed for a term of office of 3 years, on 12th October 1908 he was in Athens, by coincidence or otherwise, when  the Cretan Administration declared union with Greece. Following this Zaimis, though technically remaining High Commissioner, never returned to the island.

During his stay on Crete, on at least one occasion he made a formal visit to Iraklion. During this visit he reviewed the British troops stationed there. This parade was captured on camera and turned into a series of souvenir postcards

Parade of British Troops in honour of High Commissioner Zaimis.

Parade of British Troops in honour of High Commissioner Zaimis.

Iraklion parade for High Commissioner Zaimis.

Iraklion parade for High Commissioner Zaimis.

High Commissioner Zaimis passing British troops in review.

High Commissioner Zaimis passing British troops in review.

The exact date of the parade is, as yet, undetermined. However, if it was between his arrival in September 1906 and February 1907 it was 2/Royal Sussex, between February 1907 and February 1908, 1/Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, and after then until his departure, 3/King’s Royal Rifle Corps.

A regiment which definitely WAS NOT involved was the unidentified Highland regiment shown in the card below; the last Scottish regiment to serve on Crete, 2/Cameron Highlanders,  left the island  in March 1903.

Souvenir postcard of High Commissioner Zaimis - date unknown.

Souvenir postcard of High Commissioner Zaimis – date unknown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Holland, R. and Markides, D. The British and the Hellenes. Struggles for Mastery in the Eastern Mediterranean 1850 – 1960 (Oxford, 2006). 128.

 

Another parade.

Parade in Candia

Parade in Candia

Could be 1/Inniskilling Fusiliers, 3/King’s Royal Rifle Corps or 2/Royal Sussex. All were in Crete at some time in 1907 or 1908.